Clarks steps up development of its shoes with 3D printing

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The real shoe is on the right and the mini 3D printed shoe on the left

Last September whilst wandering around TCT Live, I came across the Clarks stand.

Having picked up one of the shoes on display, I initially thought ‘wow, this is a bit heavy’ but then realised it was actually a model printed on a Zcorp printer. The detail was just incredible and at first sight you would be hard pressed to know that it wasn’t a real shoe.

I was fascinated as to how Clarks is using 3D printing technology and so on Monday morning I headed down the M5 to Street in Somerset to visit Clarks’ headquarters and chat to Clarks’ digital development manager Ross Authers.
It was a fascinating visit. As well as spending time with Authers discussing how the shoes are developed, especially the digital side of things, he also took me on a tour around the facility.

Clarks was founded in 1825 and has been on the same site for the past 187 years, and although manufacturing has been outsourced, the buildings that were used as a factory are now housing office staff to assist in the company’s burgeoning global business.

There is even an old steam engine that has been preserved and is on display on the ground level of one of the buildings. It must be amazing to work in a facility that has so much heritage.

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I’ll of course be writing an article about how Clarks is using technology to innovate in a forthcoming issue of Develop3D, so look out for it!

clarks.co.uk